September 13, 1995 in Nation/World

Man Blows Up Wife, Children Packs Car With Dynamite, Meets Family At Mall To Go Shopping For Clothes

Associated Press

Betty Louise Clark had agreed to meet her estranged husband one last time: He said they’d take her three children shopping for school clothes and talk.

A day later, all that was left of Mark A. Clark’s station wagon was a crumpled, burned-out shell in the parking lot of a strip mall in suburban Baltimore.

Police believe Clark packed his car with dynamite and blew up his family and himself, shaking the neighborhood and sending debris and body parts raining down blocks away. The glove compartment was found half a mile from Monday’s blast.

The Clarks, their 4-year-old daughter, Krysta Clark, and Betty Clark’s other children, Malissa Ray, 11, and Ricardo Valdez, 6, all died.

Neighbors said Tuesday that Clark, 32, had threatened to kill himself and his family Sunday and Monday.

“We all just thought he was blowing hot air,” said Pamela Pierce, who lived upstairs from Betty Clark.

Betty Clark, 32, moved in with her sister in Essex earlier this year. She had a new boyfriend and was studying to be a medical secretary.

Neighbors saw Clark talking to himself outside the building when he visited his estranged wife on Sunday. He also visited on Monday.

“When I asked what he was talking about, he said, ‘You’ll find out soon,”’ said Mary Thomas, another upstairs neighbor.

“Sunday and yesterday he went out to the car a thousand times looking in the car, looking in the trunk. Last night when we saw the wreck on the TV news we put two and two together,” Thomas said.

Mark Edward Weitzel, 30, who had been dating Betty Clark since May, said she had agreed to meet with her husband one last time to take the children shopping. He picked them up from Weitzel’s house.

“We knew he was unstable,” Weitzel said. “But we didn’t think he would actually do something like this. Yesterday I had a family - a girlfriend and three kids. Now I have nothing.”

Police said they had no reports of domestic violence.

Police suspect a form of dynamite called slurry ripped apart the 1987 Ford Taurus wagon.

© Copyright 1995 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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